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Kundalini Shaking
kundalini
Answer
6/22/10 3:30 PM
Five weeks ago, during my meditation, I had a kundalini experience. I began shaking severely. It lasted about an hour. By the end of the hour I had been shaken off of my meditation bench and nearly off of my zabuton. Since that time every time I meditate I have some shaking in my body. Yesterday the shaking was once again severe. All of the other times the shaking was moderate or strong - but not so strong to shake me off my meditation bench.

My question: Is the shaking a “healing” or a “spiritual growth” process where one would just allow the process to evolve and thus just observe the phenomenon, or is it a symptom of some condition that needs to be addressed? If the latter is the case, should I see someone for help (e.g. a reiki master, an acupuncturist, or someone that does chakra balancing)?

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
6/22/10 4:13 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
Ronald this is a very common experience, it is a kundalini-related phenomena. I'd suggest don't worry it will pass. If it's uncomfortable or interferes with daily living you could slow down your practice for a week or two.

http://www.google.com/search?q=shaking+site:.aypsite.org

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
6/22/10 5:31 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
Also recommended is a read-through of a copy of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (there is an online version), the chapter on the stages of Insight. Arising and Passing Away may be of interest (very common symptom is the shaking that you described). The shaking is not much of a problem and will subside or vanish altogether. If you want to, you can take the shaking itself as an object which should make it a bit less severe (it did for me) but it will vanish of its own accord.

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
6/22/10 9:34 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
Hi Ronald,

I don't know exactly what approach you are using, but as others have said, this is reasonably common.

Mahasi Sayadaw, Practical Insight Meditation
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Practical/practical.html
Should you intend to sway the body, then knowingly note intending. While in the act of swaying, swaying. When contemplating you may occasionally discover the body swaying back and forth. Do not be alarmed; neither be pleased nor wish to continue to sway. The swaying will cease if you keep the knowing mind on the action of swaying and continue to note swaying until the action ceases. If swaying increases in spite of your making a mental note of it, then lean against a wall or post or lie down for a while. Thereafter proceed with contemplation. Follow the same procedure if you find yourself shaking or trembling. When contemplation is developed you may sometimes feel a thrill or chill pass through the back or the entire body. This is a symptom of the feeling of intense interest, enthusiasm or rapture. It occurs naturally in the course of good contemplation. When your mind is fixed in contemplation you may be startled at the slightest sound. This takes place because you feel the effect of sensory impression more intensely while in a state of concentration.


I had some moderate shaking (actually mostly swaying) for a few days on a retreat last year. My teacher was a little concerned that I might injury myself (by falling on something, especially if it happened while doing walking practice) but apart from that assured me that it would pass. He said he'd seen people sway so violently that they banged their head on the floor!

I know nothing about the theory behind stuff like kundalini (I've stuck mostly to Buddhist teachings) but I've noticed that often when I've had these sort of involuntary motion things that they seem to be the body kind of straightening itself out, getting rid of some sort of habitual bad posture that is causing cramping or pain, and eventually getting itself into a proper , comfortable posture (after possibly going through a bit of pain to get there...).

Mike

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
6/23/10 12:01 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
A few months ago, I went through a period of about three or four days where my right shoulder would twitch intermittantly whenever I was meditating, usually once but sometimes twice a session. I attributed it to an energy blockage that was being cleared away. Then it went away; I suppose what ever needed to be worked out had been worked out.

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
1/7/11 7:18 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
Look at the chapter 9 of "A path with heart" by Jack Kornfield. He offers some good suggestions to deal with it. Here is an excerpt :

"Early in one year-long training retreat, I experienced a period of very powerful release where my head began shaking back and forth for hours. Some days later my arms started to involuntarily flap like a bird's wings. When I would try to stop them, I could barely do so. If I relaxed at all, they would flap continuously. They did so for several days. When I asked the teacher about it, he inquired whether I was being fully aware, and I said, 'Certainly.' Later he said, 'You're not really being aware. Look more carefully and you will see that you don't like it. You subtly want it to go away.' When I saw he was right, he said, 'Simply go back and observe it,' and over the next two days the movement subsided, and I sat there feeling my arms throb, bringing hours of deep bodily release...

"...These spontaneous bodily releases are neither enlightening nor harmful. They are simply what happens when the energy being generated in our practice encounters blocks and tightness where it cannot flow... When these spontaneous movements appear, we can begin to respect how deep our physical patterns of holding can be. For many students, physical releases and openings take place over months and years of their spiritual practice. It is best to meet these movements by softening, especially relaxing the back and the area at the base of the spine. if the release is only moderately strong, it is often best to try to relax and yet hold the body still in the face of it and allow the energy to push open new channels in the body, rather than be released in movement. For stronger release this is impossible, though there are ways to temper and soften the buildup and flow of energy. As we become concentrated, the energy of our body system will follow a natural process of opening and balancing itself. We will feel how the heat, pulsations, and vibrations spontaneously move through our spine to open blocked energy channels and then radiate out to every nerve and cell of our body. We can discover that some of the deepest healing and body work can take place as we sit still and meditate. Remember that this can be a long process, so be patient with your body."

Hope this helps.

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
2/16/11 2:53 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
One further thought, if you happen to be one of those people for whom the kundalini experience doesn't seem to fade away with time and practice, but rather tends to intensify. Sylvia Boorstein has described her own experience with yoga and the long-term manifestation of kundalini. She recommends that in such cases, practicing metta towards oneself can be of significant help -- not necessarily help in quieting or diminishing the kundalini experience, but help in vipassana practice while kundalini does what it does.

FWIW, I found that to be good advice. I seldom practice vipassana meditation without kundalini arising in one form or another, usually a surge of energy that moves up and down the spine. It's seldom pleasant. Sometimes it quiets down into the basic vibration of vipassana practice, sometimes it continues until I end the sitting. Initially, when it first arose, I thought, "cool!" But after a while, it became pretty uncomfortable and annoying. And though I didn't perceive it, I began to form some deep aversions towards the kundalini and towards my "self." I wasn't aware of doing so until a teacher suggested to me that I practice metta for a time, per Sylvia's suggestion. It was when I noticed a clear aversion towards practicing metta towards myself that I began to perceive the deeper aversion itself.

Curious the way those kinds of things work.

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
3/2/12 1:42 PM as a reply to Ronald Craig.
Ronald Craig:
Five weeks ago, during my meditation, I had a kundalini experience. I began shaking severely. It lasted about an hour. By the end of the hour I had been shaken off of my meditation bench and nearly off of my zabuton. Since that time every time I meditate I have some shaking in my body. Yesterday the shaking was once again severe. All of the other times the shaking was moderate or strong - but not so strong to shake me off my meditation bench.

My question: Is the shaking a “healing” or a “spiritual growth” process where one would just allow the process to evolve and thus just observe the phenomenon, or is it a symptom of some condition that needs to be addressed? If the latter is the case, should I see someone for help (e.g. a reiki master, an acupuncturist, or someone that does chakra balancing)?


I have been reading William Bodri's book "The Little Book of Hercules" and it has been helping me understand a lot of the stranger phenomena that accompany progress on the spiritual path. It deals with kundalini in a very sensible way, not as a goal in and of itself, but in a "neti, neti" way. It helps the reader understand why/how these strange things are happening. I recommend it to you if you are having a kundalini awakening, as it deals greatly with those energies and processes.

In my experience, shaking passes with time. Your energy always wants to clean out the detritus from its obstructed channels, especially after kundalini has woken, and the effect of that is physical jolting and shaking in some cases. Some people engage shaking as a practice of its own, and will shake for 20 minutes or so just letting the inner energy guide them as they shake out their blockages and get the life force flowing through new passageways. Someone on another forum I frequent was really excited about 3 hour shaking sessions, said it was wonderful and they felt renewed and refreshed like never before!!

In short, i don't think shaking needs to be addressed unless it is chronic and causing problems in your personal life. I have gone through multiple phases where as soon as i sat down and quieted my body and mind for meditation, the energies would jump up and make me shake. Its annoying, but it passes as your channels open up. Blessings to you, and best of luck. I hope it passes quickly.

Michael
Jampa Rinchen

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
3/3/12 3:11 AM as a reply to Michael O Hartigan.
The manifestation of this that i've been experiencing for a week or so is kind of like stretching and swooping and lying on the floor. it's gradually progressed through various stages. even as i write this my body is swaying but but kind of swooping back and forth. it's been through a stage of various spinal stretches, starting and the neck and working down. firstly it was the head twisting one way or the other. in later sessions, the shoulders were bent one way or the other, and held there for a time. it often holds me in a position of stretching for a time. subsequently it has been bending my neck and then my whole trunk down to the ground. when it holds me down like that i invariably get a headache and this is followed by fatigue. also, when standing, i've been bent over at the waist (good stretch) and another time my trunk was swooping in a sort of circle. it has made me want to turn circles. but it always finishes with me mashed on the floor and it holds me there until it's good and ready to let go.

if i've got the time/presence of mind to keep going it eventually settles and gives me a sense of peace. yesterday i let it run riot for 1hr 40mins and it still wasn't finished.

it follows me around, even if my meditation session ended in peace, all the day, so that as soon as i even slightly concentrate (like reading something for example) it comes back. and often the headache too.

amazing stuff. mediation is powerful stuff.

i wonder if others have noticed anything systematically accompanying it, such as the headache and dullness/tiredness that i experience?

This thread very very helpful by the way emoticon

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
3/26/12 9:13 PM as a reply to wacky jacky.
wacky jacky:

i wonder if others have noticed anything systematically accompanying it, such as the headache and dullness/tiredness that i experience?


Hi wacky jacky,

Sorry for the delayed response. I'm glad the thread is helping you. Kundalini experiences can be everything up to terrifying, especially if you haven't awakened it via shaktipat, with the guidance of a yogic guru. I awakened mine in a car accident via near-death-experience and i was definitely not ready for what followed!! It can be really frustrating and destabilizing. So what you are describing sounds pretty natural, and i would encourage you to read about kundalini. Wikipedia is a good start, and there are some great books out there. Lilian Silburn's "Kundalini: The Energy of the Depths" and Swami Kripananda's "The Sacred Power" really helped me. I also highly recommend William Bodri's "The Little Book of Hercules", in fact, i recommend that more highly than those first two.

The headache and fatigue that comes from the body motions have happened to me too. It passes. In my case, opening up took years, and during those years i would have intense periods of calm, interspersed with intense periods of kundalini blasting through everything that stood in its path. I have had swoops, shakes, violent spasms, been pinned to the floor, and worse. emoticon Now I have almost no chronic discomfort due to obstructions, i am calm and blissful, and can access rarified states of consciousness with relative ease. The journey deepens and deepens, and the initial pains of kundalini's cleansing give way to the wonders of the mystical path in time. In fact, it has been said that there is really no stopping the progress of kundalini, and if you are meditating in stillness regularly, it will only happen faster that you awaken to the samadhi states that having open channels and awakened energy enables.

Let everything pass as it arises, and it will give way to deeper layers of the onion. Keep sitting, and studying, and your physical sensations will pass with time. Blessings to you!

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
3/27/12 1:56 PM as a reply to wacky jacky.
I experienced swaying,back and forth, rotating, as well as bending forward (with the head touching the floort). It was something I could stop at any minute. I didn't experience it off the cushion. It happened during the course of a couple of months max. Perhaps only two weeks. Don't know. It stopped happening and hasn't happened since.

Intuitively it seemed this movement was related to pain I felt in my lowerback when sitting for a long time (at that time that meant around 30-40 minutes).

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
3/29/12 8:31 PM as a reply to Bart Castelijns.
Thank you Michael and Bart. It has actually settled down a lot now! Once I stopped being so fixated on it, it subsided mostly. I get some head twisting and swaying but not too much else. I simply decided to resist going into the yoga poses and to continue with my noting practise, seated in the usual way. I think it comes up with one of the nanas.

All the best with your practice... Jacki.

P.S. Thanks for the book recommendation Micheal, I've got that one down to order from amazon.

RE: Kundalini Shaking
Answer
4/8/12 12:34 PM as a reply to wacky jacky.
you're most welcome Jacki, all the best to you!

Glad you plan to read that Bodri book, its great emoticon